The whole purpose of creating a website is to be able to convey a message to an audience; of course, the specifics of the interaction will differ depending on the type of website, however the need to attract and maintain attention to important information is universal.
The Importance of Placement
The serial position effect tells us that the top and bottom are the most important part of a page as they elicit the greatest recall/retention with readers. Unfortunately, this means that content in the middle of pages is at risk of being overlooked and or forgotten.
Practically, this is an incentive to place the most important information at the top and bottom of your pages, a good example being the main selling points of your product or service followed by contact information or a link to a checkout facility.
Secondly, it brings into question whether the content in the middle of the page adds value to the website or simply lengthens the page. If you feel the information is valuable then you might want to look at using design elements as a means of drawing attention to these areas.
I think its worth mentioning that most of us have a limited attention/retention capacity and you simply won’t be able to keep readers engaged and interested in an entire page, particularly if its longer then say 3 or 4 folds. In other words, if you emphasise one part of a page you’ll take away from another part so you need to determine what’s really the most important.
Clear and Concise
Another key to grabbing and keeping hold of readers attention is to write in a clear and concise way. Mainly this boils down to using a ‘common use’ vocabulary and keeping sentences as short and sweet as possible. Admittedly, this isn’t always easy but it’s definitely a skill that you can improve with practice.
Individuals of all intellects and educational backgrounds prefer information which is presented in a way which makes it easy to read and, hopefully, easy to understand. This is because it allows more thought to be dedicated to the issue which is being written about/discussed in the first place.
Consistent traffic is hard enough to come by that it’s vital to make each view count. This is why you need to pay attention to all of the seemingly small issues, including those discussed above, which are required to optimise your website. At the end of the day, if people fail to engage with your content then ultimately your efforts will be for nothing.